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tv   The Dylan Ratigan Show  MSNBC  August 12, 2011 4:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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bastards." where are the jobs? so far president obama refused to think big enough. the one big idea out there involves the debt ceiling, and an insane artifact responsible for the feeastic eand downgrade we just went through and something almost no other advantaged nation have in which the gop can be black policy blackmail every time it needs to be raised. congressman from new york says it's time to get rid of the debt ceiling altogether. congressman, welcome. you're proposing is obviously common sense to anyone that's looked at it. sdp that mean it has no chance? tell us what you're thinking here? >> it probably won't go very far in the republican congress, in republican house, unless the president chooses to really push it, as he should. because right now most people -- a lot of people think that the debt ceiling means you've got to borrow more money, spend more money. the fact is, raising the debt ceiling, all that does, say you can borrow money to pay the bills you incurred as a result of decisions made for you five and seven years ago.
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it's not raising the debt ceiling. it's like you're going into an expensive restaurant, having an expensive meal. getting the check and saying, gee, i've got too much money on my credit card. i don't think i'll pay it. you can't do that. the decision as to what levels of debt -- what level to spend on taxes, that you make in your annual budget debate and once is enough. when congress votes on expenditure that should be it. >> now, one of the things that really drove me crazy during this whole recent fiasco is that it's look you said. the republicans all voted for the ryan budget. the media did a terrible job of explaining, i think, that the ryan budget added $5 in detrilln debt over the next decade. >> and the ryan budget by certain terms didn't quite balance the budget until 2040. 29 years from now. we were going to still continuing borrowing a lot more money. the fact is, how much money you borrow and whether you should borrow it is a function of the budget you pass, how much should
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we be spending next year and two years from now? how much should we be taxing? you vote on that. that gives republicans the opportunity to hold the entire country hostage like a bunch of gangsters in a bad movie. what an economy you have. a pity to explode it. >> hasn't, congressman, at this point, mitch mcconnell and others are made clear they plan to use the debt creeling ing i ceiling in divided government from now into eternity. talk about the international context. i don't think most people understand, most wealthy nations don't have anything like a debt ceiling. they rely on the debt budget like you described? >> shue sdo that. have a budget debate. elect congress members and senators to decide how much to spend next year and two years and two years from now, how much to tax. taxes should go up, go down, whatever, and that's your decision. when do you that, you're determining how much money and
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spending you will borrow. you shouldn't need a separate vote whether to fulfill the consequences of what you already decided. for the republican, mitch mcconnell came out and said there will nerve are be another raise in the debt ceiling, there will have to be a year from january, unless we're cutting out money. ut cutting $2.5 trillion, two more year, another $2 trillion for aeflt the ten years spending no money at all. you can't do that. >> so one of the things that's clear, though, a proposal like this, common sense, though it is, and how it would align us with what other countries do, it really will face an uphill political climb, because all the polls we show that broad chunks of the american public, big majority, don't want to see the debt ceiling craraised. they view it as a proxy for other thing. what kind of public education would it take to make politicians feel safe voting for this? remember, president obama voted
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against this back when he was in the senate. >> when you had a republican president, a democratic president, republican democrat gau demagogue. you knew catastrophe would result. hypocrisy on anybody's part. the first time anybody attempted to blackmail the whole country and not to say we'll negotiate as hard as we can to get what we want but we'll employee up the economy if we don't get what we want is what the republicans just did. you can't give the people, a minority, they control pun one house. you can't blackmail the entire country. it will take the president explaining this and explaining what the debt ceiling really is or isn't. by the way, you saw during this debate the polls shift rapidly on terms of whether people wanted a debt ceiling increase or not as people started learning what was involved and what wasn't. >> now, i've really faulted president obama's leadership on this issue.
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remember, back in december had they cut that deal to extend the bush tax cuts, they could have gotten the debt ceiling -- should have insisted the dell ceiling be extended at the same time. you hear a lot of white house folks saying, oh, the situation wasn't right there. no one would have gone for it then. seems to me a terrible failure of advance thinking and negotiation that meant this whole showdown and fiasco could have been avoided altogether. do you fault the white house leadership on this? >> i agree with you. in fact, the president was asked at the time why he didn't try to put this in a deal. he said, well, the republicans are going to be reasonable, not try to blackmail, hold up the country. i think by now the president and others ought to realize what kind of hostage-takers and radicals we're dealing with in this modern republican party. had you had the republican party 30 years ago they wouldn't have done it. today they're radicals, no respect for the democratic process and will blackmail the country anytime they can because they are zealots or because he
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want the economy to fail so obama doesn't get re-elected. i'm critical of the president. he went on television yesterday and criticized congress for bickering instead of identifying who's being intelligent, who's doing the right thing and who isn't, and criticizing the appropriate people. not congress as a generality. that teaches nobody anything and puts no pressure other than the hostage-takers. >> all right. congressman jerrold nadler offering one big idea on the debt. thanks for putting that out and sharing that with us today. another big idea from another progressive democrat, congresswoman jan schakowsky of illinois. the emergency jobs to restore the american dream act, which she says will create 2 million u.s. jons in the next two years. congresswoman, welcome. i wanted to get your propaganda in there first. tell us how your plan works? >> it's a very simple idea. if you want to create jobs, create them. and what we do is, we create a school improvement core that's going to fix up the schools
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around the country. work that needs to be done. we're going to hire nor teachers and firefighters and policemen. we're going to hire young people to fix up our park. all things that need to be done. health care workers, child care workers, and every single dollar is going to have to be connected to a job. and it's really a reasonable price. it's about, for two years, about $227 billion. but that doesn't even cost, consider what we save in unemployment insurance benefits and other benefits that unemployed people need. but what we're actually going to do is make sure that we get the economy rolling by putting people back to work. >> now, this seems like an old-fashioned idea that would be common sense for democratic president to propose. why hasn't the white house been coming out with something like this? are they hoping that you'll float this as a trial balloon and pat you on the head and say, that's very nice, congresswoman,
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but we'll see if it gets any traction before we decide to pick up something like this that we can fight for? >> i want to tell you, just lie putting this out yesterday, announcing the legislation, we've had lots of inquiries from legislative offices. the white house has asked to see the proposal. economists are estimating that it would reduce unemployment by about 1 mo.3%. a very good start. it's not the only answer to the problem. hundreds of thousands of people around the country are joining through their organizations in support of this legislation. even the tea party thinks that it is more important to create jobs than to reduce the debt at this moment, and so i actually think this is the kind of simple idea, if you want to create job, create them. if you need to hire people, let's hire them. >> now, you've also got a plan to pay for this, right ask a tax proposal that would actually
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fund a good portion of the $100 billion or so for the next two years that you think should be done. tell folks about that tax plan. >> sure. i introduced the fairness in taxation act which says what 81% of the american people want, and that is taxes, creating new tax brackets for millionaires, rash itting up to billionaires at 41%. people who make a billion dollars in taxable income and there are such people, and that 49% is still lower than the high tax rate curing the reagan administration. so i used him as kind of a top rate. >> and -- >> 50%. >> and in your proposal, you're really the only democrat who is trying to get some traction talking about the folk whose have done the best in the last decade or two, actually contributing. one suggestion i have for you is not to just have it be something that pays for jobs but also link it to the fact we're a nation at war. the idea we have, we've had for
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ten years we've had a focus on cutting taxes for the best in society at a time we're at war. we've never done that before in american history. that's immoral, and maybe a way to weave that into the jobs argument in terms of those who have done the best being willing to contribute their fair share to these causes. >> exactly right. it's interesting. i was at a meeting of seniors. a number of old-time veterans, even world war ii veterans, and i asked, how many of you think it's time for us to get out of afghanistan? you know every single hand went up. it was partly the money. it was partly the lives lost, and partly time to just focus on america now and use those resources. and so i agree. it's the wars that have been put on the credit card. the tax cuts that have been put on the cred the card. time for everyone, as the president has said, to pay their fair share. this isn't about punishment 0 or revenge against rich people,
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this is about everybody contributing. >> january schakowsky with a big idea we'll be watching and hope it gets traction. if somebody doesn't get serious about the 20 million americans looking for full-time work and can't find it, we're in a big mess. thank you for your leadership and we'll be watching. >> thank. up next, republican rumble. with last night's big winner not even on the stage, also ahead, why the gop debate was surprisingly painful for dog owners across the country. see if you can guess why. plus, forget debating jobs or health care. who's going to save us had aliens from space invade? i love that my daughter's part fish.
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i don't think yousolveed my problem. >> solving your problem isn't -- >> that was the classic 1960s movies "the magnificent seven." well, looking at last night's republican debate, we're calling it the not so magnificent seven plus one. that plus one is mitt romney. bring in our mega panel to dissect it all. democratic straft jit krystal ball and "washington post" editorial writer jonathan capehart and nbc political analyst jonathan alter. hi, guys. welcome. >> hey, matt. >> hi, matt. >> so, chris, let me start with you. is that a fair characterization? seven nods from presidential casting plus one mitt romney looking like he's got the republican part? >> i mean, what i say about mitt romney he dodged a lot of bullets. i was surprised the others
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didn't attack him more aggressively. because he's not competing in the game's straw poll. you saw pawlenty and bachmann really going at each other. i have to say, i think the real win eer of last night's debate was rick perry. to me, he is going to come in and has much more charisma thanny any of the people onstage last night and i don't think he's going to let mitt romney off the hook the way the other contender, so far. >> we're going to spend a lot of time on rick perly in a minute. jonathan alter, i want to key up for you one of the most staggering and depressing sound bites, which had to do with the ratio of spending cuts to tax increases that republicans would accept. give a listen to this and then i want your reaction to it. >> say you had a deal, a real spendings cut deal, ten to one as byron said. spending cuts to tax increases. you're shaking your head, but who on this stage would walk away from that deal? will you raise your hand if you
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feel so strongly about not raising taxes you'd walk away on the ten to one deal. >> so, jonathan, a stirring round of applause from core republican constituencies for never paying for the baby boomers' retirement. what do you make of all this? >> this was the on thing that unifies the republican party. so they are digging themselves and the country into a deeper and deeper hole. what they're basically saying by raising their hands like that is, we don't give a rat's patootie about the deficit. we don't give a damn about future generations about putting things on the credit card. all we care is that people making over, i don't know, $10 million, $100 million not pay a single dime more in taxes and that that belief trumps everything else in american politics. that is the definition of pig-headed, irresponsible political thinking, and we need to kind of get a sense of how
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radical that is and how irresponsible it is when we're facing $14 trillion debt. >> jonathan capehart, one of the things that strikes me about this is, this kind of pandering to the no tax, no matter what crowd only exists because of our weird system where we rely on a few hundred thousand people who are from the base of one porte in a few idiosyncratic states to pick one of our major party nominees. doesn't this kind of extreme pandering show that the whole system is broken? >> yeah. in that clip we saw it completely broken late to on that stage with your magnificent seven plus one. what that says to me is that the republican party has no idea if it doesn't involve cutting taxes, they don't have any ideas for growing jobs and all the things they say president obama has failed to do. you know, people are hungry and looking for ideas and solutions and thamp not getting them from this republican field, but,
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yeah, when you have the extreme wings of either party choosing a candidate who will face-off in november you're going to have those candidates in the primary season playing to their bases and then scrambling towards the center to hopeful lip gly get e in november. we're way off the extreme here. >> matt, can i throw in the follow-up to that now iconic question. the follow-up should be, and i hope they're asking today what if there's another war? how would you pay for it? would you put a new war on the credit card as well? or would you do what every president until george w. bush did, going back 200 years in times of war, and that is raise taxes? >> uh-huh. i was just talking about that with jan schakowsky. i couldn't agree more. just as we were going to air in an atlanta appeals court pap three-judge court ruled the individual mandate was
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unconstitutional. interestingly one of the two judges in the majority, a bill clinton appointee. 's in my view, krystal, start with you. another appeals court it was constitutional. the last lawyer, i know when you have appeals courts divided it gets ripe for the supreme court to take the case. is this going to go to the supreme court right there in the campaign? >> it's looking more and more like the supreme court is going to have to weigh in. the dynamics of this particular case, the individual mandates here was ruled unconstitutional, not the entire law. it's looking more likely the supreme court would rule just on the individual mandate and not the entire law. so what happens sdwlen say that the supreme court does rule it unconstitutional. then this whole thing is tossed right back into the lap of congress. so this really raises the stakes for what's going to happen in 2012. who's going to be in control of cog? who's going to be in the white house, have control of the
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senate? this hangs in the balance. >> jonathan capehart, i've argued conservatives should realize if they get their fondest dreams and the individual mandate is overturned it's going to put us on a faster track towards single payer. nobody doubts medicare is constitutional. if it turns out the only way to keep private sector providers and insurers in the game is ruled unconstitutional, they're going to cut off their nose to spite their face. am i wrong? >> i think you're right and i think these case, when i heard this ruling came down, i sort of had a whiplash effect. we're getting rulings from you a the other jurisdictions and it raises the importance. i mean, the supreme court is an important voice, but we need have the supreme court, you know, make a decision. is this law constitutional or unconstitutional and given the supreme court and the pow ter has, it could go with the lauer court's ruling in saying parts of unconstitutional.
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parts of constitutional, but still, until the supreme court makes the ultimate decision about what this health care law is, we're going to still go through this yo-yo effect with the other lower court rulings. >> jonathan alter, briefly, does that mean we're going to be keyed up for a 2012 campaign year situation where anthony kennedy on the supreme court will decide this and all even more explosive? >> i think so. he is the swing vote. the question here is whether the country wants to go back to a pre-1935 view of the american social contract. the supreme court in the early new deal using the commerce clause, the same part of the constitution invoked in this decision said, no, all that new deal stuff, that's all unconstitutional, and then the supreme court changed and ruled that, no, it wasn't constitutional. took a broader view of the commerce. now back to first principles.
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what do we owe each other as a society, and it's teed up in the legal community the same way it is in the political world. we're arguing over the same things i did when i wrote my book about franklin roosevelt. all the issues haven't changed. >> and know -- >> well, that's terrific analysis, guys, and just -- just before we go, coming back to these issues in the weeks ahead. we have a specimont taj we teed by our own jonathan capehart, all over msnbc from "morning joe" to guest hosting on martin bashir to being on the ratigan show a couple times this week. it's going to become misnb capehart. that's what the c stands for now. neighbor, kudos to you,
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jonathan, and krystal ball and jonathan, more ahead. wiping out the rest of the gop field. do republicans fear the wrath of rick perry? i had a heart problem. i was told to begin my aspirin regimen. i just didn't listen until i almost lost my life. my doctor's again ordered me to take aspirin. and i do. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. [ mike ] listen to the doctor. take it seriously. two of the most important are energy security and economic growth. north america actually has one of the largest oil reserves in the world. a large part of that is oil sands. this resource has the ability to create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
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timing is everything. just about this time yesterday when texas governor rick perry announced he'll get into the 2012 race. perry already is considered the front-runner, but not by today's specialist whose made it his mission to take rick perry down. congressman lloyd doggett is sounding the alarm so he doesn't mess with america the way he messed with taxes. >> welcome. >> matt, great to join you. >> i'm sure we'll hear a case for rick perry. give us the case against rick
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perry. >> you can tell he's not my cup of tea, but by the bitter standards of the tea party which dominates the republican primary, if you want the most extreme, if you want the most disagreeable, rick perry is your guy. in texas he's done great damage to education. that's where i've sparred with him a little bit. done great damage to our women's health and health overall, and his so-called texas miracle, you know, he's really big on miracles. the miracle he's claiming for himself really is a texas tall tale. created some minimum wage jobs, about 40%, almost, of those created last year were minimum wage or below. taken jobs from other states, but no formula for job growth and economic recovery for americans. >> that's a pretty severe indictment. i know krystal ball's got a question for you. >> hi, congressman. >> hi, krystal. >> he's certainly not my cup of tea either, as you put it, but he does have a state that's had
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very strong economic growth. if you look at the bottom line number. low taxes. low per capita spending. it seems like exactly the conservative mantra. isn't he exactly what the republican party is looking for right now in a nominee? >> well, i think so. he is the most extreme. it is important to look at that economic growth, because that's the myth of rick perry. his way of getting economic growth is to ship jobs from states that have slightly higher taxes to texas, and whenever there is a problem, except problems advantaged to get more toll roads or to help his corporate cronies, the government's response is, we can do less, and that's what texas has done. we ranked dead last, 51st, in the entire country in the percentage of our population who are high school graduates. we rank dead last with reference to the portion of our population that has health insurance. in terms of our economic future
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and our competitiveness, rick perry governorship has meant more cuts to education, more undermining our long-term ability to be competitive with the rest of the country and the rest of the world. >> jonathan capehart's got a question. >> congressman, the chyron below you says president perry. do you think the problems in the country are so great that a candidate perry could appeal to republican primary voters and snag the nomination who could then go on to beat an incumbent president and become president of the united states? even though he's as extreme as you say? >> i think he is the right candidate for republican primary voters, sadly, because it's become the tea party instead the republican party of the past, but i believe that in the general election, while economic conditions are a great concern, that his extreme views as we say in texas, he's got lots of
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splaning to do about some of the things he said. indeed, will we first heard about it here in texas that he was running for president, given all the cessation talk he used against kay bailey huchtchison, our concern was, which country? >> why did cessation no become a bigger issue in texas? it got noted. because there were a fair number of texans who said, yeah, let's secede or people didn't take him seriously when he said it and he'll be able to brush it off in a general election campaign? >> i'm sure he'll try to laugh it off, as he did once or twice this past year. i mean, the bottom line is that texas is a very deep red desert with a few blue oases like in the capital city in austin, and he appealed to those voters and he was determined that no one
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could get to his right. he would take another giant leap to it right if that's what it took. i just think it will be difficult for him to explain some of those extreme statements. statements like suggesting that the social security and medicare are failed experiments. you said in the last segment, or matt did, that no one questions the constitutionality of medicare. well, governor perry has questioned it. she willing to take on any of the social contract that attempts to protect retirement security and future educational opportunities, and i think he'll be out there making that case for that far right agenda. i just don't believe that independent and some republican voters in americas suburbs will buy that if he becomes the nominee. if he does, i will say, he'll be great for prayer in america. we will all be praying for america to survive a perry presidency, which would just be disastrous. >> congressman, time for one more question. i want to zero in on the
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economic stuff. that's going to be central to his pitch, the so-called economic miracle or jobs story in texas. one report i saw showed that texas is the highest proportion of minimum wage jobs of any state in the country and the lowest median wage of any state in the country. so even if the number of jobs that's being created may be high and put aside some are from the stimulus that he -- put out during that campaign and even if he's stealing jobs from the other state, nothing for economic growth overall, the fact you have the lowest median wages and the lowest min yum wage jobs, these aren't good jobs? >> almost 40% of those created last year were minimum wage or below. he's been good at growing the poor here in this state, at growing the gap between the very wealthy, his corporate buddies, and the rest of the population, but he hasn't been good for protecting the middle class on key issues like public education and health care.
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>> lloyd doggett, i'm thinking of you, you're going to be like the chicken who heckles at rallies. a much classier version. >> oh, no. >> in terms of governor perry can understand, i just want to bear witness. i want to bear witness to what rick perry has done to texas and tell that story across america. >> i'm sure you'll be on point. thanks for previewing that case even before he makes his formal announcement today and thanks to the mega panel, jonathan, jonathan and krystal. great for your input and perspectives as always. >> thanks, matt. and humans aren't the only ones glued to last night's debate. we'll pause for a moment and explain, when we get back. [ p.a. announcer ] announcing america's favorite cereal
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host: do people use smartphones to do dumb things? man 1: send, that is the weekend. app grapgic: yeah dawg! man 2: allow me to crack...the bubbly! man 1: don't mind if i doozy. man 3: is a gentleman with a brostache invited over to this party? thanks for previewing that casee we'll pause for a moment and just so everyone knows, when candidates go over the allotted time, the breep of the system, that's what you hear, the bell, and we'll try to not ring the bell that much. it's not the doorbell. >> apparently not everyone
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agrees. that buzzer sent dogs across america running last night during fox's republican debate, and it had dog owners barking about it on twitter last night. like this tweet. every time they ping that little time's up bell, my dog thinks someone's at dog and barks. and this one, every time the bell rings in the republican debate, our dog starts barking. no, lola, mitt romney is not at the front door. and our favorite. my dog keeps kicking me when ron paul talks. motionless when the bell ring. i knew he was different. and our dog barks every time that candidate answer bell goes off at gop debate. doorbell tone. >> the proverbial dog whistle for key voters. they're going to agitate real dogs with this evil ploy? i say it's time we called the aspca. up next, who wins it all and who draws the short straw 4 iowa this weekend?
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which is wyman is an endangered species. >> a crisis of leadership. we've been talking about this all week. but what if there were some sort of outer space crisis, an alien invasion sounds crazy, perhaps, but then who'd thought we'd see the stock market swing 5% all week long? maybe it's not as far femped as it sounds. if aliens invaded who would step up to lead us in that fight and could we even win? one of the questions the discovery channel's new series "curiosity" looks at. the consultant for the series. do alien even exist and how would we know? >> well, the satellite currently orbiting in outer space identified 50, 50 planets being very much earth-like. every week we discover another jupiter-size planet in outer space. to be sure most probably have no more microbial life, just germs,
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but a few may have intelligent life, perhaps even more advanced than we have on earth. >> how does this work? when discovery decided to do a show on alien, your phone ring boss you're on speed dial for a war game how it might play out? >> believe it or not, we physicists have studied the question. what happens if we do encontinuer a hostile advanced civilization in space and hollywood gets it all wrong. assuming the aliens may be 100 years more advanced and if only we had a secret weapon we can defeat the aliens. wrong. either the aliens don't wobothe because we're too primitive. it they invade it will be more like bambi versus godzilla. >> why do you say that? what techniques might they have we can't even imagine. >> think of the fact they could be 1,000, even 1 million years
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more advanced? realize the universe is 13.7 billion years old and they could have weapons we can't even see. the barbarians didn't have secretive weapons by which they dweeded caesar and the romans, no. they learned technology from the romans. they imported technology. they learned the technology of the romans and then used it against the roman empire. that's how they won. >> so then how would we -- sounds impossible, but if something like this were to happen, how would we defend ourselves as a planet? >> initially, we would have to probe them and find out exactly how advanced they are. do they have nuclear weapons? rye dar and radio technology or a whole new generation of weapons we can't even conceive of. now, remember, that for the most part, alien civilizations in outer space are not going to
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come to plunder us because there are plenty of uninhabited plant its we resources. for the most part they'll leave us alone. when one day they do attack we have to be prepared for the fact they're going to overwhelm us in the opening shots of a war. >> what do we do? >> study the question. send up more satellites, ease drop on conversations in outer space between aliens civilizations. this is something we haven't even done yet. we have yet to find a single advanced civilization or life in outer space. but sooner or later we will. the first step is to monitor them. to understand what level of civilization they have, the kinds of weapons. second, perhaps, even begin to initiate a dialogue. of course, that's dangerous, if they are war-like. in which case we may want to sit back and simply analyze their weaponry. >> now, why do we assume they're going to be hostile?
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isn't there a chance any alien could come to us more like e.t. and less like predator? >> for the most part, aliens a million years ahead of us had a million years to sort out racial differences among themselves. for the most part they're going to be peaceful and for the most part find resources on uninhabited planets. why bother with the earth with restless natives when you have all these other planets loaded with natural resources and nobody lives on them. however, we do have to plan for the day that maybe a few of them could be hostile. >> now, i'm wondering if there can't be an upside to this? i'm a big fan of the original "star trek" series. only when there were alien civilizations that seemed to challenge the earth that you found that the earth got its act together for the kind of global governance that all the visionaries say we need that, if we're going to deal with climate change, with all the modern issue, global finance, where,
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the sovereignty of individual nations is actually a political barrier to solving these big problems. so can there be an upside to the alien threat? >> believe it or not, when president ronald reagan met mikhail gorbachev we know during the transxrinlts of the meeting if we were ever attacked by the martian, you and me, the soviets and the capitalist u.s., would be allies in the fight against the martians. well, that's how ronald reagan looked at it, and believe it or not, there's some truth to it. if we are faced with a common enemy in outer space it wouldn't be help to unite the earth just the way ronald reagan said. >> all right. michio kaku, the series "curiosity" looking forward to seeing how discovery treats that and thanks for taking the time today. >> right. every sunday at 8:00. >> a theoretical physicist who
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knows how to get in the a promo. i like that. chuck todd live from iowa with the latest on the ames straw poll ahead. that's next. if you've recently signed up for medicare
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look, i'm not going to eat barack obama's dog food. what he served up is not what i would have done if i'd have been president of the united states. >> before it was additional leer irks provided by mitt romney at last night's republican debate. so quoting chad and jeremy, yesterday's gone and we move on, to tonight and tomorrow and iowa. nbc news chief white house correspondent and host of "the daily rundown," here on msnbc, that's chuck todd live from the gop political center of the earth in iowa.
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welcome, chuck. >> how you doing, matt? we're at the state fair. i can tell you, about 25 feet away, sarah palin, working the crowd right now, as we speak. >> so what's your -- what trechts ytrecht interests you as we head into this weekend? it's kind of a crazy carnival atmosphere, right? >> it is. and when it comes to the ames straw poll, it always is. a very fetive, like no political event i've attended. i go to every one of them. they're a lot of fun and i would argue, election day were like the ames straw poll you'd have an 80% turnout. this is interesting, because it's sort of a three dimensional republican primary going on and a split screen where all the candidates are. so tomorrow you're going to have this sort of minnesota primary which is broken out between pawlenty and bachmann. winner take all at the straw poll. rick perry in south carolina announcing at the red state
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conference there, making his bid to be the conservative alternative to romney, and you got mitt romney who won this straw poll four years ago, decided not play at all. he's already back in new hampshire. >> so give folks an idea. i think people don't understand exactly how something like this works. is it right that all the candidates have tents and they're offering free food and other different indunesments and free bus transportation to get them throughout? how exactly does it work? >> well, who look, it's a giant -- temperature what you it is. it's a giant fund-raiser for the iowa republican party. you've got to pay a certain amount of money for a tent, for where you sit. at ames, in order to do this. what they do, they hold this straw vote and it's pretty secure. it become as test of your organization to see, did you get all your precincts captains for the caucuses to show up on a summer afternoon in ames, some
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people driving 200, 300 miles from the eastern part of the state to get over to ames to do that. how loyal is your base? it's a test to that strength. have you found 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 people? it will take about 2,500 to 4,000 people to win the straw poll. you found iowans so devoted here at the campaign, they're essentially super supporters. almost, you know, volunteers plus to come here. that's what you're testing. we're finding out how real is bachmann? how real is the pawlenty strength? ron paul, we know he's getting a bnch of crowds, a very young set of supporters. are he iowans? will though show up? is there a right-in factor for rick perry? what about rick santorum, old school way. visits more counties than any other candidate but doesn't have the resources of a pawlenty or bachmann. >> chuck, here's my deep, dark worry about our democracy from events like this. i admit, with up a trop iowans.
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>> hear you. >> at the end of the day a big media bump for people who do well in something that involves what? 25,000, 35,000 people in one idiosyncratic state that will annoy and sort of seal the fate for some of the other folks who won't be able to carry on. is this the way to run a country or a nominating process for one of our great parties? >> well, i would ask this -- if not here, if you don't start here, where would you start? in a big state? do you make it so the small states are -- i make this argument in defending the iowan and new hampshire duopoly in this respect. at our founding, a lot of the compromises that were made in the system was about making sure the large states, virginia and massachusetts, didn't have too much power over the smaller states, like delaware. so that's why they came up with the senate, for instance, as way to balance. i think there's nothing wrong with having smaller states where
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it forces you could do the hand-to-hand campaigning early on. find out what it's like when there's no -- when there's no protection of the media, frankly, that a big state does, where it be isn't all about tv ads. it isn't all about money. you don't have to have as much money to catch fire in an iowa and a new hampshire. so i think we could denigrate iowa, where else would we start? some event is going to win other fields at some point no matter how we started this process. >> and the, chuck, if we put you out there on the ground in iowa and new hampshire and force you to question those, the privacy of those states too much you'd have to be put in a witness protection point at some point, i think. >> well, all right. look, i love -- these two states are fun. particularly iowa. the people are very nice. a little nicer than the people in massachusetts. massachusetts' got that yankee sternness to them. nice on the inside but don't show it. iowans are very happy we're here
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and they're all nice. >> what are you looking for in terms of michele bachmann's showing tomorrow? is this kind of a do or die event for you? what do you expect? >> i don't think it's do or die for her, but there's a lot of folks behind the scenes in the iowa republican party questioning whether she has the depth of support we in the media apparently think she has, and i've had some folks questioning whether she has spent too much time in what they call sort of the zone of des moines. the des moines media market, and she hasn't ventured too far outside of the center of the state, and they think that that could get exposed, and we could find out, know, she's got a lot more work to do. maybe her support level, mile wide and deep, where tim pawlenty has been working this state for over two years before he was running. we may find out he actually has a little deeper support here, because he spent as much time in the northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest corners of this state as he has in the center here in des moines. >> just a minute left, chuck.
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tim pawlenty was a little surly, i think, going in, the exchange with michele bachmann. quick question on herman cain. i always think he looks so good as a centurion clip media figure. is this just an audition for his fox tv show? i always keep thinking roger ailes is going to find somebody named abel and we're going to see a cain and abel show when this is all over. 30 seconds? >> 30 seconds. i'll say this about herman cain. he had a moment about two months ago where he was catching fire, made it to double digits in our poll. he had this ability and couldn't figure out how to raise money or build the organization around it. he's been eclipsed. running in the same bracket as a michele bachmann, as a rick perry. i think at this point, this primary and the tea party is passing herman cane contain by looking at bachmann and perry. >> looking to you all weekend for updates

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